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The Washington Post has an interesting poll running right now. It’s really just one question about what you call the commercial airport closest to DC.

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Beneath that, there are several demographic questions that I’m sure they’ll try to correlate your answer like how old you are, where you grew up, and how often you fly out of that airport that we’re trying to figure out what to call.

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I grew up in Fredericksburg, VA, which is about equidistant from said airport, Dulles, and Richmond International Airport. I mainly have flown out of Dulles because it’s a United hub and because I have cousins just a few minutes from the airport.

I answered that I call the other airport “National.” I’m fairly consistent about that though if I’m writing to an audience that knows the airports, I’ll usually write “DCA.”

What do you call that other airport in Northern Virginia that isn’t Dulles?

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I gave a well-received presentation on Trick Awards at the Chicago Seminars in October.

The presentation dealt with free one ways, negative price one ways, open jaws, stopovers, avoiding fuel surcharges, and award chart SUPER sweet spots.


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In October, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Chicago Seminars. My original slot was to speak about Trick Awards, but a last minute cancellation by another speaker had me also speak about the Southwest Companion Pass.

Here are my slides from the presentation, which are another way to consume the information in this post: Southwest 50k Offers Are Back, Leverage Them for $3,142 in Free Flights.

The presentation also contains some of my best tips about Southwest like how to snag the best seats, when Southwest’s ticket prices go up (this is pretty regular in my experience, and much more.

Also see Free Giveaway: $51 Southwest Gift Card.

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After 2.5 years, I finally spruced the place up a little bit. Thanks to Million Mile Secrets for letting me steal his theme for a few years, but now I’ve got my own. ;)

Almost all the changes are cosmetic. Let me walk you through a few of them.

First, you probably noticed that you got a pop up when you came to the site today. Sorry for the minor annoyance. I just really want people to sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You will see this pop up no more than once per month.

Next, the home page has seen a total redesign.

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For anyone who stumbled onto the site not knowing where they are, we’ve added a prominent button to Start Here. Underneath it, I’ve added a few of the top credit card offers. Before they lined the sides of the page, but I don’t want people to confuse them with randomly generated ads. These are handpicked offers.

Next comes all the posts. I wanted to fit a lot more posts onto the home page, so great content that’s only a week old isn’t hard to find.

Post pages look a little different than before, and offer you the chance to share a post you think your friends will find helpful with just the click of a button at the bottom of the page.

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The key services of this site: the blog, the Award Booking Service, and the Free Credit Card Consultation remain the same.

Hopefully you like the makeover. Big shoutout to Tyler and Emily for the design work. For anyone who has a website, I’ll give a little more info on their company in a few days. They’ve worked so hard on my site that they haven’t finished their own!

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An interview with me is currently featured at HotelsCheap.org. Excerpt:

What are the disadvantages of using [credit cards to earn miles]?

There are none if you are responsible.

If you are irresponsible with credit cards, don’t get them. There are two main ways to be irresponsible with credit cards.

1. You don’t pay the monthly balance in full. If you run a balance at 20 percent interest, any rewards will be quickly swamped. Just set your cards to be auto-paid from your checking account each month to avoid this.

2. You spend more with plastic than with paper. If you know you spend less with cash, don’t get credit cards because any rewards will be quickly swamped.

Check out the full thing here.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

This year, just like the last two Thanksgivings, I am thankful for my readers. Without you, I might be in an office somewhere.

I will spend this Thanksgiving in Medellin, Colombia. Amazingly, I think it’s my first Thanksgiving abroad.

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. My normal routine is to spend it in Virginia with my extended family. The cooks always say dinner will be at 2 PM, but it’s more like 4 PM. I don’t mind; it just gives me more time to get hungry. Once we all say what we’re thankful for, I load up one plate with a few pounds of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and rolls–maybe some peas or Brussels sprouts too. I finish it as the last of my family are just preparing their plates, and then I have an even bigger portion of seconds. I skip dessert temporarily, and head straight to the nearest bed for a two hour nap. Then I wake up and sample the pies.

This year though I’ll be headed to an Irish Pub for a plate of traditional Thanksgiving fare. The American owner is very excited about the preparations he’s made, and I’d hate to miss out on the food, football, and camaraderie that make Thursday special.

I notice a pronounced drop in traffic to MileValue each Thanksgiving, so I’ll take a few days off from posting to enjoy Medellin, plan my Patagonia trip, and recharge my blogging batteries. Expect the next new post on Sunday.

Until then, enjoy family, friends, food, Black Friday, and leftovers!

If you want to use some of your free time to brush up on miles, I’ve put some of my most popular posts from the last month after the “Continue Reading” button.

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How this only has 3,000 views is beyond me!

A drone was allowed by Mexico City airport authorities and airline pilots to fly over the airport and film taxis, take offs, and landings from a perspective I’ve never seen before. It’s a fascinating three minutes.

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All 30 spots are full and there is a wait list for cancellations that is already 10+ deep, so no new RSVPs can be accepted. I love the great response, so I’ll try to have more.

I’m excited to announce a MileValue dinner this Sunday, September 21, in Los Angeles (90006) at 6 PM. I chose an earlier start time, since it’s a work night.

This is the first one in Los Angeles in eleven months, and I think the fourth LA dinner overall. I love the MileValue dinners in Los Angeles, which have had attendees from all over Southern California at all miles collecting and redeeming levels.

Full details and how to RSVP

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Sunday I read a post on Gary Leff’s blog that said that Iberia Avios had massively devalued its award chart for flights on oneworld airlines.

I looked up the Iberia award chart for oneworld flights and came to the same conclusion as Gary–that Iberia had put out a new, worse award chart. I wrote a post Sunday and another yesterday about the changes and how to beat them.

It turns out my posts were mistaken. Iberia hasn’t touched its award chart since November 2011.

The reason I was wrong is that I had misunderstood Iberia’s program. I had thought it was identical to British Airways’ program (except that Iberia charges lower fuel surcharges on its own flights.) In fact, it had always had a far worse award chart for most flights than British Airways offers.

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Iberia’s Terrible Award Chart (Then & Now)

My goal is to know everything about every frequent flyer program to wring out the best deals for myself and pass them along to my readers. I came up short of that goal in my posts about an Avios devaluation that never happened. I’ll keep working towards my goal though, (and tomorrow I expect to make a very valuable contribution to the milesphere.)

  • Who gets credit for figuring out my mistake about Iberia Avios?
  • Why do I now think that we won’t see a no-notice British Airways Avios devaluation?
  • What will I do not to repeat my mistake?

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Check out my interview at Airline Miles Experts.

It’s short and gives some insight into me, the blog, and my travel mindset. Excerpt:

With many airlines struggling financially, do you think that they will eventually scale back their rewards card offerings?

If so, we should take advantage of the awesome current values now.

If not, we should take advantage now and later.

I sure hope programs aren’t scaled back, but whether they are or not does not change my strategy of maximizing them in the present.

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A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by The List in Phoenix for a segment on using frequent flyer miles.

You can check out the interview here:

If you’re in Phoenix, Tampa, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, West Palm, or Tulsa, you can watch The List every weeknight.

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I’m very excited to announce the second MileValue dinner on Oahu on Saturday, May 31 at 7 PM at a Thai place town-side.

An unfortunately dark picture at the last dinner. I’ll use flash this time!

Some of the airline programs offer Hawaii-based flyers a drastically different value proposition than they offer mainland flyers, so it will be fun to talk to people from a Hawaii perspective that you don’t normally see on any blogs including this one.

Like past MileValue dinners, this one will be:

  • Free, other than the cost of your meal.
  • Split checks, so we can all show off our credit cards. ;)
  • Entrees under $20.
  • Limited to 30 people.
  • Open to people of all miles-knowledge levels.
  • Informational. There will be no prepared remarks, but I will be happy to answer all the questions that you may have about earning and redeeming miles or my recent travels.
  • Possibly full of secret info people won’t post online (and no, I won’t email it to people who can’t attend).
  • Social, a great chance to meet other people in this hobby from Oahu (or on vacation) and talk travel.

If you want to join the fun, there is only one way to RSVP:

Email me at scott@milevalue.com.

I am limiting this event to 30 folks on a first come, first served basis, so that I have a chance to meet everyone. (And I’ll do a better job of this than I did last time!)

Once you email me, I’ll get back to in a few days with the restaurant details.

I’m looking forward to seeing many familiar and new faces at the dinner. Remember there is only one way to RSVP for the dinner on Oahu at 7 PM on May 31: by emailing me.

If you won’t be on Oahu, hopefully I’ll see you somewhere else along me travels. I’m very likely to hold a Los Angeles dinner on September 20, 2014. (Don’t RSVP now. An official announcement will be made in September if this happens.)

Where should I host MileValue dinners in the future?

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MileValue has gone down twice in the last week.

The site was down for almost 48 hours starting last Wednesday because I screwed up while moving the site to a private server to keep up with growing readership.

Luckily a loyal reader helped get the site back up about 24 hours earlier than it otherwise would have been up. Check out @pcg on twitter. He’s a wizard with WordPress and web hosting (and judging by his twitter handle, an early adopter of twitter.)

Yesterday, the site also went down for about 12 hours. This time, it was swept up in a huge problem my hosting company, Host Gator, was having with a lot of its sites.

These are two of only three times that the site has had any serious down time in the last two years.

What can you do when the site is down to still get the latest information about miles and points?

Make sure you are

signed up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! It’s totally free, and you can unsubscribe at any time (if you like making huge mistakes.) Subscribers saw my latest posts from right before each of the site’s meltdowns.

In the meantime, it looks like all the site’s hosting issues are solved, so you can look forward to an uninterrupted stream of news and analysis from here on out. (And not the boring kind, the kind that gets you free travel in luxury!)

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